Do you love food? Me too. And that’s why I’m worried about it — because our food system is in trouble.
Think about your favourite food — what it looks like, its aroma, how it tastes in your mouth. Whether it’s deliciously sweet and sticky mango or a bowl of your mum’s steaming spaghetti bolognese, our food is under threat from climate change.
In fact, the climate crisis threatens the meal on your plate. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can turn the situation around by stepping out of our comfort zone, telling a better narrative and holding onto a better vision.
I am a farmer, scientist and storyteller of a better future, and my new book, Our Sunburnt Country, shows how we can avoid climate disaster and save the meal on our plates.
Like you, I love sitting down at the kitchen table to my favourite meal. The delicious taste, the fragrance, the conversation with family and friends. Food is for celebrating and brings people together. And by creating a deeper awareness of the issues facing the food system, we can identify ways that each and every one of us can help fix it.
Each of us has unique skills, knowledge, networks and capacity to bring about positive change. I don’t have the skills you have, and I will never be able to reach and influence the people in your life as you can. But you have those skills, and you can reach those people.
Here are some suggestions for what you can do to influence change and accelerate turning the vision of a better food system into reality.
Assess What Skills, Knowledge and Networks You Have
How can you use and apply these to make a positive difference?
Think About Your Food
When you open the fridge today or prepare a meal, consider where that food has come from, how it got to you and the resources that went into producing it. Take time to appreciate the food that fills your stomach.
Read, watch and listen. Learn what you can about global sustainability challenges and explore different sources of information to shape a holistic perspective on the situation. Notice what intrigues you and dive deeply into that area.
Reflect on Your Carbon Footprint
Identify where your emissions can be reduced. Talk with others in your household about your commitment to lower your carbon footprint and invite them to do the same.
Share What You Know and Ask Questions
Engage others in the conversation and contribute your ideas for addressing the problems you see.
Surround yourself with inspiring people working on positive change. Let their determination and action energise you. Identify what and who motivates you and let this sustain your work.
Amplify Your Voice
Speak on local radio, write a letter to your local newspaper, contribute a blog article, give a presentation to a local school or community centre. Your advocacy brings visibility to the cause.
Encourage Your Workplace to Raise Its Environmental Standards
Get your workplace to reduce, reuse and recycle materials, and not to waste energy. Don’t leave air conditioners, computers and lights running when everyone has gone home. Switch your workplaces’ bank and energy providers to those that are climate-conscious.
Vote for Your Future
Elect political representatives who are putting the climate crisis front and centre. We need leadership from all levels of government, and it’s your vote and voice that ensure the right people and party are elected to do that. If you don’t see a representative campaigning for what you believe is important then consider running for office yourself.
Get to Know the Farmers In Your Region
Find out what they produce and how they grow it. Be respectful and inquisitive. Many farmers love sharing their stories and passion for what they do. Ask how you can help them overcome local food-system challenges.
It’s true, the food system is complex and the climate challenge is great. No one can do everything, but everyone can do something. The seemingly small seeds of change we each plant will grow, regenerate and flourish into fields of impact.
Anika Molesworth is a scientist, farmer and author of Our Sunburnt Country, available on Pan Macmillan, RRP $34.99.